Oro Incenso & Birra

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Oro Incenso & Birra
Zucchero oroincensoebirra.jpg
Studio album by Zucchero
Released 13 June 1989
Recorded Real World Studios, Bath, England
Ardent Studios, Memphis, USA
The Power Station, New York
Umbi Medicina Blanche Studio, Modena, Italy
Genre Rock, Blues[1]
Length 42:16[2]
Label Polydor
Producer Corrado Rustici
Zucchero chronology
Snack Bar Budapest
Oro Incenso & Birra

Oro Incenso & Birra (Gold, Frankincense & Beer) is the fifth studio album released by the Italian singer-songwriter Zucchero Fornaciari on 13 June 1989. As with his previous album Blue's, the album is credited to "Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari". Its title represents a pun on "oro incenso e mirra", the Italian for "gold, frankincense and myrrh", with mirra being replaced by birra, meaning beer.

It has sold an estimated 1.84 million copies in Italy and 2.5 million copies in Europe up to 1995,[3][4][5] becoming the best-selling album internationally by an Italian until it was overtaken by Andrea Bocelli's album Romanza in 1997. As of 2015 it has reported sales of over 8 million copies.[6] Rolling Stone Italia included the album in its list of "the 100 most beautiful Italian music albums of all time".[7]. Now this album has sold over 8 million copies in the world.


This was the last Zucchero album to be sung entirely in Italian: subsequent albums have been released in international versions with English lyrics on some tracks. The guitar solo in "A Wonderful World" was written and performed by Eric Clapton, a close friend of Zucchero's.[1]

The Italian singer-songwriter Francesco de Gregori wrote the lyrics for the song "Diamante", one of Zucchero's biggest hits to date. On the album credits "Diamante" is dedicated to Diamante Arduini Fornaciari, Zucchero's grandmother (nonna). The song was included in the Baywatch episode "Tequila Bay" in Season 3.

The song "Libera L'Amore" was composed by Ennio Morricone.[1]

The album also features guest performances by Clarence Clemons, Rufus Thomas, James Taylor and Jimmy Smith.[1]

Track listing[edit]

All tracks written by Zucchero Fornaciari, except where indicated[1].

No. Title Length
1. "Overdose (d'Amore)" 5:21
2. "Nice (Nietzsche) Che Dice" 3:19
3. "Il Mare Impetuoso al Tramonto Salì sulla Luna e Dietro una Tendina di Stelle..." 3:56
4. "Madre Dolcissima" 7:17
5. "Diavolo in Me" 4:03
6. "Iruben Me" 5:49
7. "A Wonderful World" 4:33
8. "Diamante" (music by Zucchero Fornaciari, lyrics by Francesco de Gregori) 5:44
9. "Libera l'Amore" (music by Ennio Morricone, lyrics by Zucchero Fornaciari) 2:13
Total length: 42:16


Adapted from the album's liner notes.[8]


  • Zucchero – vocals, Hammond organ on "Diavolo in Me"
  • Corrado Rustici – guitars, sitar, computer programming, additional keyboards, effects
  • David Sancious – keyboards
  • Giorgio Francis – drums
  • Polo Jones – bass

Additional musicians

  • Amelia Monari – "Nonna" on "Diamante"
  • Ardent Gospel Choir – vocals on "Madre Dolcissima", "Diamante"
  • Arthur Miles – backing vocals on "Nice (Nietzsche) Che Dice", sermon on "Diavolo in Me"
  • Clarence Clemons – saxophone on "Il Mare Impetuoso..."
  • Ennio Morricone – music and arrangement on "Libera l'Amore"
  • Eric Clapton – guitar on "A Wonderful World"
  • Fanta Toure – Swahili choir on "Il Mare Impetuoso..."
  • James Taylor – Hammond organ on "Nice (Nietzsche) Che Dice", "Il Mare Impetuoso..."
  • James Thompson – backing vocals on "Nice (Nietzsche) Che Dice"
  • Jay Blackfoot – vocals on "Madre Dolcissima"
  • Jimmy Smith – Hammond organ on "Overdose (d'Amore)"
  • Lisa Hunt – backing vocals on "Overdose (d'Amore)", "Madre Dolcissima", "Diavolo in Me"
  • The Memphis Horns (Wayne Jackson – trumpet, trombone; Andrew Love – saxophone) on "Overdose (d'Amore)", "Madre Dolcissima", "Diavolo in Me"
  • Mory Thioune – Swahili choir on "Il Mare Impetuoso..."
  • Rosario Jermano – percussion on "Overdose (d'Amore)", "Il Mare Impetuoso...", "Madre Dolcissima", "Diavolo in Me", "Iruben Me", "A Wonderful World"
  • Ruby Wilson – vocals on "Madre Dolcissima"
  • Rufus Thomas – vocal introduction on "Overdose (d'Amore)"
  • Simone Pirone – backing vocals on "Overdose (d'Amore)", "Madre Dolcissima", "Diavolo in Me"
  • Il Coro delle Voci della Chiesa Avventista del Settimo Giorno – vocals on "Il Mare Impetuoso..."

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e "Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari* – Oro Incenso & Birra". Discogs. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  2. ^ "Oro Incenso & Birra". Allmusic. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  3. ^ Daniela Borghi (12 May 1995). "E' Claudio Baglioni il Jackson italiano". La Stampa (in Italian). p. 64. Retrieved 7 March 2016. Secondo l'autorevole mensile Musica e dischi, in testa c'è Zucchero con «Oro incenso & birra» dell'89: pare abbia venduto 1 milione e 300 mila in patria, macinando due milioni e mezzo di copie in Europa. 
  4. ^ "Musica: Consegnati A Zucchero 7 Dischi Di Platino" (in Italian). Adnkronos. 11 January 1996. Retrieved 1 December 2011. record personale, raggiunto con 'Oro, incenso e birra' col quale era stato premiato con 8 dischi di platino 
  5. ^ Luis (29 January 2015). "I dieci album italiani più venduti di sempre". FanCity Acireale. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  6. ^ "Zucchero Celebra Con Radio Italia I 26 Anni Di "Oro, Incenso & Birra"" (in Italian). Radio Italia. 4 June 2015. Retrieved 2 March 2016. il sesto album di Zucchero uscito nel 1989 che ha venduto più di 8 milioni di copie in tutto il mondo 
  7. ^ Bilbo (6 February 2012). "I 100 dischi Italiani più belli di sempre secondo Rolling Stone". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 1 March 2016. 
  8. ^ Oro Incenso & Birra (booklet). Zucchero Sugar Fornaciari. Polydor. 1989. 839 539-2.